2020 Mobile Economy Report: 3.7B app installs reveal opportunity in disruption

By John Koetsier July 30, 2020


COVID-19 impacted history.

It also changed friction.

And now, it requires action.

COVID-19 is not just a single event. It is a global disaster that keeps on happening, daily, weekly, and monthly. In fact, six months into 2020, there’s still no end in sight. And we have to keep being proactive about how we function in a world that’s still dealing with this pandemic its many consequences:

  • That impacts our mental health
  • It affects our economic well being
  • And it affects how billions of people engage with the world: buying, selling, communicating

Since for so many of us that primary method is mobile (and, yes, Singular’s all about mobile measurement), we’ve been analyzing a massive dataset of almost four billion app installs over the past six months. That data helps us trace the impact of COVID-19 on our lives, our economy, and shows how mobile marketers need to adapt to this enormous disruption and radical change.

Now we’re ready to share those insights. But not us only!

We asked other top mobile companies for their insights as well. Tapjoy surveyed 14,000 people. ironSource shared what they’ve learned from 1.5 billion people whose lives they touch. Unity, the technology that powers half the games on the planet, distilled observations from the massive amount of data they see. Digital Turbine added insights from the 400 million devices they reach. Moloco drilled down into state-level data to share how marketers in regions most-heavily impacted by coronavirus are reacting. gave tips for marketers looking to explore new and impactful channels. And Vungle shared insights on what marketers need to understand about their audiences in these uncertain times.

The reality is that even in an ongoing disaster, life — and the economy that provides all the necessities of life — must go on.

But everything changed.

What was once easy, like jumping in the car and picking up groceries at a local store, became hard. What had somewhat higher friction for many, like ordering your groceries for delivery in an app, became relatively easier. And that same friction addition and friction removal blew through almost every category of business — and every vertical in the App Store and Google Play.

(Including games, of course, where all of a sudden billions of people had excess time and attention, not to mention a new need for distraction.)

We’ve tracked that friction addition and removal in multiple mobile categories, showing what has grown as a result of COVID-19, and what has suffered. And we chart COVID-19’s impact so far through 2020 in both organic and paid app installs, revealing the complex interplay between what people wanted naturally, and what marketers pushed via advertising.

Perhaps more importantly, we also survey the future.

What tomorrow will bring is not clear, although we can make some educated guesses. However, more amenable to predictive analysis is what tools, technologies, and mindsets will help mobile marketers drive success for their apps and their brands, even in these crazy times. The actions that you’ll need to take to stay relevant and continue to grow.

It’s not the new normal.

It’s the new abnormal.

And this report, based on billions of app installs, insights from hundreds of marketers, and the distilled wisdom of millions of people will help you navigate these uncharted waters.

Get your copy of the 2020 Mobile Economy Report here!

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